Mural by Walter Edmonds and Richard Watson
JUSTICE. FREEDOM. POWER.
Our story, who we are, is tied to place. That is to say our identity is inseparable, but distinct, from the Church of the Advocate, its history, and our ancestors who came before us.
We start from a place that has been known as a hub for social justice. The Church of the Advocate is a place where justice is unleashed on the world:
• 1968- Site of the National Conference of Black Power
• 1970- Site of the Black Panther Conference
• 1974- The first women were ordained into the Episcopal priesthood at the Church of the Advocate
• 1973-1976- The “Art of Protest” Mural Series depicting African American oppression, resistance to oppression, and the hope of the Beloved Community
In that history of justice, advocacy, and art, the Advocate Center for Culture and Education grounds itself; and we carry our identity into all that we do--academics, arts, and athletics. The Advocate Center is a nonprofit housed at the Church of the Advocate whose mission is to unite community residents, volunteers, service providers, and educational institutions in a cooperative effort of mutual support and learning to improve the life prospects and well-being of North Philadelphia residents. The Advocate Center is a non-sectarian organization that serves and welcomes all regardless of religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, or nationality.
The Advocate Center lives out our mission through our three main program areas--ACADEMICS, ARTS, and ATHLETICS.
We started out as a small, community-based basketball program. Well-known players in the community came back to the Advocate to coach youth in the neighborhood. After a year of homework help and basketball, we expanded to include programming in arts and academics. Through our partner, ArtWell, students go through a rites of passage and leadership program where they learn about who they are and think about how to serve their community better. In our Arts4All Drama program, students study acting not just for the sake of entertainment, but, instead they use drama as a tool for liberation. Our academic programming is administered by our core partner, Mighty Writers. They teach our youth to write and think clearly, because they know that communicating effectively is an essential component for success in school, at home, and in life.
Currently, the Advocate Center seeks to address the community and individuals holistically through dynamic, interdisciplinary programming that engages the whole person.